The shoe: Adidas Boost
The official description: “You put a lot of energy into your run and…the Energy Boost gives some of it back.”
Thousands of “energy capsules are melted together into one midsole that will change your run forever,” says Adidas.
Just in case you’re not convinced, the shoe company adds: “This is only the start of the running revolution.”
We say: Energy capsules, is that code for something? Is this shoe on amphetamines? Is that why it feels so freakin’ fast?
Well, hardly. But the fact of the matter is the Boost is a welcome anomaly in a time of minimalist and minimalist transition shoes. The Boost dares to be a cushioned shoe and furthermore not only does it very well, but pretty much locks up the whole category.
Here’s the deal: Adidas has obviously developed some kind of proprietary, high-tech cushioning material; the lower third of the shoe has some sort of rubberized compound that’s almost like Styrofoam. Press your thumb into it and you can feel some give, but it retains its mix of spring and sponginess.
That’s the boost. That’s what appears to so neatly absorb the impact of your foot strike while rebounding enough to add a little sprightliness to your step.
The Boost is a neutral, cushioned shoe designed for mid-foot landing. It actually has a hard plastic platform exactly at the shoe’s mid-point, which Adidas refers to as its “Torsion system,” and says allows the front and rear of the shoe to move independently.
Compared to some of the more minimalist shoes I’ve recently run in, I don’t really notice any extra freedom in the movement. What I do find is the Boost seems to cradle the feet comfortably and that the forefoot is relatively stiff but responsive, while the shoe itself doesn’t offer a whole lot of flex.
While the Boost “energy capsules underlay the entire sole, a thin, but tough rubber traction surface Adidas calls “Adiwear” covers the major “strike” areas of the shoe. Functionally, this is very smart. It prevents the Boost compound from breaking down and also provides superior traction in most conditions.
One of the things I love best about the Boost – and love is not too strong a word – is its compression-like fit. That is a piece of superior design that, in my opinion, the company should be trumpeting more.
The shoe fits so snugly that Adidas actually recommends you move up half a size. I was skeptical, but the material acts like a compression sock and wraps your foot snugly. At the same time, the material breathes nicely; I never noticed my feet overheating or otherwise becoming uncomfortable.
The original Boost (Adidas has since added several new colours) is extremely subdued in black and silver while the Boost compound is white. A very subtle (almost unnoticeable) yellow stripe separates the latter from the shoe’s upper.
With so many vibrant colours currently dominating the shoe market, the understated touch is welcome.
Okay, you say, but how does it feel? What’s it like to run in?
Let’s put it this way: I’ve run in a lot of great shoes this year, but none that I’d want to use for my long runs or marathons.
The Boost is different. It’s cushioned without going overboard. When I hit the hills, I typically run on my forefoot and with the Boost could feel a natural toe-off as I climbed.
The shoe is very forgiving, not only for long runs, but for medium-long to long runs done at a faster pace. I’m able to run the distance with intensity and not feel beat up after.
And while the Boost is cushy, it’s not sloppy.
Everything about the shoe suggests a lot of thought was put into reinventing what our current idea is of a cushioned shoe in order to capture the category.
At 9.5 ounces, the Boost is actually one of the heaviest shoes I currently own. I can’t tell the difference though. On the road, it feels light, stable and nimble, and, to date, has gone the distance without any discomfort.
The bottom line: The Adidas Boost is my new long run and marathon shoe. It provides the support and cushion I want over the distance without numbing my contact with the ground.
Energy capsules? Yes, please.